Spring Fling: Short Rib Chili

Spring is here, spring is here! Well… sort of. In between glorious bits of sunshine, it’s still a little chilly which makes chili the perfect choice for dinner!

We picked up some beautiful boneless short ribs the other day, but I’m mixing it 50/50 with beef stew meat for a slightly more budget-friendly meal. This spicy hearty chili is a great option for weekend camping trips too (we usually make chili ahead of time and then reheat it in cast iron). And let me just say, these pictures may not be great, but the chili was amazing (seal of approval from The Boyfriend too).

For this recipe, you will need:
crockpot/slow cooker
non-stick pan
blender

Ingredients: 
~ 1.25 lb boneless beef short ribs
1 lb beef stew meat
2 cans (14.5oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (16oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (7oz) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1.5 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 clove elephant garlic (or 3-5 cloves garlic)
3 dried chili peppers
2 tsp extra dark cocoa powder
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp avocado oil (olive or coconut is fine)

Seasoning: 
4 tsp ancho chili powder
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt / to taste

Add one can of diced tomatoes and liquid to the crockpot. With the other can of diced tomatoes, drain the liquid first (do not rinse) and add to the pot. Drain and rinse beans until water runs clear, add beans to the crockpot. Remove stems and seeds from dried chili peppers and combine in blender cup with one full can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Blend pepper mixture for about one minute or until it resembles a uniform paste and add to the crockpot. Add 2 tsp extra dark cocoa powder, 2 tsp salt, and 2 tsp ancho chili powder to the crockpot mix.

Using a sharp knife, finely chop elephant garlic clove (also called elephant toes) or 3-5 cloves normal-sized garlic. Set aside in a bowl with the chopped onion. Add 2 tsp each of oregano, cumin, and ancho chili powder to the onions and garlic.

One clove of elephant garlic vs a whole head of "regular" garlic

One clove of elephant garlic vs. a whole head of “regular” garlic

Pre-heat oil in a non-stick pan on high-heat. While the pan is heating up, dice the ribs and stew meat into ~1/2 cubes – they do not at all have to be uniform in shape, just similar in size. You want the pieces to be small enough that they are “bite size” but big enough that they can still be shredded later on. Add meat to the pan, in batches if necessary, and cook for 3-5 minutes on one side only to sear the meat and lock in some flavor. Add all of the meat to the crockpot.

In the same pan, add the onion-garlic-spice mixture and cook on medium heat for 3-5 minutes until fragrant and the onions have softened slightly. Add this to the crockpot.

Add 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, stir to mix everything together, and set crockpot on low for 7-9 hours. If you don’t want to wait that long, try cooking on high for 3-5 hours checking periodically to make sure it doesn’t burn. If you find that the chili has let off a lot of liquid, you can crack the lid a little bit to let some of the liquid evaporate. I personally prefer a thicker chili (as opposed to more liquid) so we usually crack the lid for half the cooking time.

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Serve immediately – as is, with chopped raw onion on top, with guacamole, or with grilled veggies.

Store in the fridge up to three days.

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Two Years: My Top 20 Recipes!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been TWO YEARS since I first created SlowCarbSnacktime. It’s been a long road learning how to eat properly and fuel my body, and there’s still a very long journey ahead, but it has been such an amazing and educational adventure so far and I’ve come up with so many healthy slow carb recipes along the way. There’s many more to come, but for now, I’m celebrating two years of SlowCarbSnacktime with my top 20 recipes.

All 20 of these recipes are grain, gluten, sugar, corn, potato, rice, and soy-free. Two recipes use some dairy, but I’ll make sure to note that in the list. I will also note paleo and whole30 compliant recipes (they are obviously all slow carb compliant). Items marked “vegetarian” are either vegetarian or can easily be made so by changing an ingredient such as swapping out chicken stock for vegetable stock.

  1. Amazeballs: Super Scallion Turkey Meatballs – paleo/whole30 – I used ground pork rinds instead of bread crumbs to give these meatballs the fluffiness they need without the carbs you don’t want.
  2. B^3: Butternut Bacon Bitespaleo/whole30 – It may take a few minutes to wrap these precious little pieces of squash in strips of bacon, but I promise it’s worth every second of your time.
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  3. Butternut Squeek Soupvegetarian, paleo/whole30 – There are few things better than a hot butternut squash soup on a cold winter day… this soup with butternut squash plus leeks is one of them.
  4. Chicken Liver Mousse – dairy – Okay, I’m not going to lie, there’s a lot of butter in this recipe, but it is one of the easiest things to make for a classy dish to stun your guests without sacrificing protein. Also tastes great with eggs for breakfast, or by itself on a very large spoon…

    Beautifully set. Dig in!

    Beautifully set. Dig in!

  5. Decontamination: Ginger Chicken Souppaleo/whole30 – The perfect comeback to any cold, my chicken soup is infused with a ton of ginger to help combat the ickiest of feelings. A favorite of my dad’s to fight back against chronic sinus infections.
  6. Duck Duck Asparaguspaleo/whole30 – Crispy asparagus oven-roasted in duck fat. The way to my heart is through my stomach.
  7. Easy Peas-y: Split Pea Soup w/ Sausage – One of The Boyfriend’s favorites, I boil the sausage in chicken stock and then use that stock in the soup. So rich, so good.
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  8. “Gazpacheaux” Gazpachovegetarian, paleo/whole30 – This cold tomato soup is a perfect snack to beat the summer heat or spoon into shot glasses for a classier kind of party.
  9. Hold the Sizzle: Fiery Chicken Fajitas – paleo/whole30 – This spicy little stir fry is a great option for a protein-packed dinner for two and tastes great with strips of beef too!
  10. Holy Crap! Garlic Soupvegetarian, paleo/whole30 – Over 20 cloves of garlic and a whole head of cauliflower into the pot for a super smooth, bright white soup.
  11. Kimchi Fried Cauli-Rice – paleo/whole30 – Cauliflower rice, kimchi, eggs, and bacon fat. What more could you want?
  12. Lamb Chop’s Play Along: One Baaaaad Burgerpaleo/whole30 – This ground lamb burger with fresh rosemary is so juicy, sticking it on a bun would just be a waste.
  13. Perfect ‘Stachio Guacvegetarian, paleo/whole30 – My copy cat version of the stunning guacamole at Jose Garces’ El Vez. Never pay $14 for guac again.
    P1010122
  14. Red Lentils are Dal-iciousvegetarian – My take on a traditional Indian dal, prepared in a slow cooker using red lentils and a ton of fresh spinach. I crave this all the time and it’s a great dish entirely on its own, paired with a meaty protein, or even reheated in a pan with some eggs!
  15. Rosemary Bone Brothcrockpot, paleo/whole30 – This slow-cooked broth is made from beef soup/marrow bones and cooks on low for nearly two days to extract all the vitamin goodness from the bones. When it’s cold, it looks like jell-o, but warm it up for a mineral-packed cup of life. Seriously, I know how cheesy that sounds, just try it. It’s amazing.
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  16. Saturday Morning Shakshuka / Date Night Zoodlesvegetarian, paleo/whole30 – These two quick dishes pair great together for a meal so tasty, you won’t even realize there’s no meat!
  17. Sweet Hundos: Oven-Roasted Cherry Tomato Saucevegetarian, paleo/whole30 – This super easy tomato sauce is made with “Sweet 100’s” cherry tomatoes and is unlike any sauce I’ve tasted before. I just couldn’t get enough and ate half the jar with a spoon. Serve with just about anything.

    Mmm saucy!

    Mmm saucy!

  18. Top Secret Deviled Eggs / Devilish Egg Salad – My go-to potluck dish and an easy alternative for cravings at home.
  19. Tiny Viking Funerals – cheat day, dairy – Jalapenos stuffed with chorizo and cream cheese. A cheat day treat guaranteed to knock the socks off all your friends.
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  20. Whatsername Fish Tacos – Chickpea flour-crusted tilapia fillets and large lettuce leaves make for this delicate but delicious taco dinner. You won’t even miss the tortillas.

Cheatin’ on Chipotle: Beef Barbacoa

The barbacoa at Chipotle is a thing of beauty. Other than the new Bonfire Bowls at Baja Fresh, Chipotle’s barbacoa is by far my most frequent craving for a slow carb meal when we’re out and about. Now, The Boyfriend and I fully appreciate Chipotle’s more natural approach to feeding the masses, but sometimes we just don’t want to pay extra for guacamole.. or wait in line. You might have to wait all day for this homemade take on your favorite burrito bowl, but it will feed you all week without actually having to eat the same meal twice (see suggested pairings below).

Ingredients: 
~ 6 lbs boneless chuck short ribs (or equivalent)
2 yellow onions, halved
7 oz chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (1 can)
2 dried red chilis
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup chicken stock
2 tsp True Lime crystals (or 4 tbsp fresh lime juice)
~ 3 tbsp vegetable oil, for searing
1 small bunch radishes, thinly sliced (optional, for garnish)

Seasoning: 
3 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cayenne

Appliances/Special Equipment: 
Blender or food processor
Slow Cooker

Dig in!

Dig in!

Slice onions into thin half-moons and place at the bottom of the crock pot (in theory, this step is completely optional, but I love onions and think they add great flavor to this dish). If you don’t want to use onions, add 1 tsp of onion powder or granulated onion to the blender sauce (further instructions below).

Rinse meat under cold water and pat dry. Trim about 40% of the fat off – leaving enough to render down in the crock-pot, but not so much that the meat won’t sear. Cut the chuck into smaller pieces – I ended up with about 10 total – this will make it a bit easier to fit everything in the slow cooker as well as increasing surface area available for searing (a must-do step to lock in all that great flavor).

Heat oil in a large pot or pan over medium heat. Sear each piece of meat until golden brown (1-2 minutes per side) and for a few seconds on each edge. Add to the slow cooker.

In your blender or food processor, combine: apple cider vinegar, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, True Lime crystals (or lime juice), dried peppers, and all seasoning/herbs/spices. Blend until smooth. Note: If you have a mortar and pestle, I’d recommend crushing up the dried peppers and discarding the seeds before adding them to the blender. Add blended sauce and 1 cup chicken stock to the slow cooker and mix gently, coating as much of the meat as possible with the sauce (my crock pot was pretty damn full at this point so it was a bit of a challenge, but I did what I could).

Set crock pot on high for 6+ hours or on low for 10+, stirring occasionally (and to make sure that any pieces of meat sticking up out of the liquid do not dry out or burn). We actually went out in the middle of making this dish, so I had it on high while I was home for about five hours and then set it on low for an additional four hours (nine hours total) and it came out perfect.

When meat is fork-tender and falling apart, remove meat and onions from the crock pot to a scratch-resistant bowl. Add about 1/2 cup liquid from the slow cooker back to the barbacoa and, using two forks, shred the meat. Adding some liquid back to the barbacoa will keep the meat moist and will also help keep it alive in the fridge a little longer.

Serve immediately: with a few thin slices of radish for a nice little crunch, with lettuce leaves for “green tacos,” or however you choose! Leftovers can be refrigerated up to 5 days.

Suggested Pairings: 
Nice Rice: Cauliflower
Busy Black Bean Soup (recipe coming soon!)
Holy Crap! Garlic Soup
Perfect ‘Stachio Guac

Red Lentils are Dal-icious!

Red Lentil Dal w/ Chorizo

Dal. Daal? Dahl? However you spell it, the stuff is awesome. My first attempt was stove top with yellow split peas, and while it too was delicious, I’ve moved to a way easier and less-involved process: this time, I’m whipping out the crock pot!

Packed with protein and a pretty hue, I went with red lentils this time, but I think yellow split peas will work just fine (let me know if you try it out).

Ingredients: 
4 cups red lentils
2 medium yellow onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced (or Dorot cubes)
3 heaping tsp minced ginger (from a jar is fine)
6 cups (1.5 qt) chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup coconut oil
8 oz baby spinach

Seasoning: 
1 tbsp curry powder
2.5 tsp turmeric
2 tsp salt
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp celery salt

Appliances/Special Equipment: 
Slow Cooker/Crock Pot

Rinse lentils in a fine mesh strainer under cold water for two minutes. Drain, pick out any discolored pieces, and add to crock pot. Melt coconut oil in a non-stick pan on medium heat and mix with minced garlic and ginger. Add diced onion and sauté until fragrant, about 5 minutes, then add mixture to crock pot (the whole thing, just dump it in).

Add four cups of stock to the crock pot as well as all seasoning. Mix well. Set crock pot to high, cover, and allow to cook for two hours; mix every 20-30 minutes.

After two hours, add the remaining two cups of stock to your dal-in-progress. Set crock pot temp to low and continue cooking for an additional two hours; mix every 20-30 minutes.

Sort through spinach leaves, removing any wilted or chewed up pieces, and add as much as you like to your dal (in the crock pot). We usually use about half of the large plastic tubs (8 oz). Mix spinach into dal, cover with lid, and allow to cook for an additional 10 minutes or so, until the spinach has wilted.

Serve immediately; as is, with chorizo (pictured), fried eggs, or any number of other dishes.

Red Lentil Dal w/ Chorizo

Recommended Pairings:
Nice Rice! Cauliflower
Thai-ish Spicy Peanut Chicken
Chicken Satay-Kebab with Peanut Sauce
Coconut-Curried Chicken

Lamburger Chipotle Chili

So many peppers!

So many peppers!

*Moving to Oregon: 17 days*

It is absolutely freezing today, so it’s safe to assume that I’m craving chili. Since we’re in the throes of vide le congélateur (empty the freezer), I decided to whip up something new instead of grocery shopping for North Philly Chili that I made a few weeks ago. While this recipe has a few more “specialty” ingredients, this batch is a bit thicker and richer, just what I wanted today! I really do love my crock pot.

Don’t tell The Boyfriend, but I actually used a pre-mixed pouch of herbs and seasoning today. With all-natural Lysander’s Original Chili Seasoning and Rick Bayless’ Chipotle Garlic Skillet Sauce, this chili packs a ton of flavor and a nice little kick of lingering heat. I purchased both products at local stores like Di Bruno’s and even found the skillet sauce at Wal-Mart, but you can find them online too.

Ingredients: 
1 lb ground lamb
2 lbs 80/20 ground beef
7 oz tomato paste
1 packet Chipotle Garlic Skillet Sauce
1 15-oz can black beans
4 hot peppers (I used 2 Serrano, 1 jalapeño, and 1 cayenne)
1.5 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
1 large clove elephant garlic (or 3-4 cloves regular garlic), finely chopped
2 tbsp grass-fed unsalted butter e.g. Kerrygold (olive oil is okay too)

Seasoning:
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp Lysander’s Original Chili Seasoning
1 tbsp Cocky Cajun Seasoning
1 tsp Chipotle Powder

In a large stock pot, melt the butter on medium-high heat and add all three pounds ground meat. Stir occasionally until most of the meat is cooked through and no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, chipotle garlic sauce, and 2 tsp salt to the pot and stir well. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 more minutes. Dump all contents of the pot into your slow cooker.

Finely chop the garlic and onion, half and thinly slice the peppers, and add to the crock pot. Using a colander, rinse beans under cold water until water runs clear. Drain beans and add to crock pot. Add Lysander’s chili seasoning, Cajun seasoning, and chipotle powder to the slow cooker and stir well.

Set crock pot on low setting and cook for at least 2 hours (up to 4), stirring occasionally. Serve with guacamole, chopped raw onions, or other topping of choice. Enjoy!

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Tomato Soup +

Tomato soup is wonderful this time of year (preferably with some grilled cheese, but I’ll work with what I’ve got). It’s also a great vehicle for getting more veggies in the bellies of our loved ones, kids and hangry men alike. You’ll need a vegetable peeler and a crock potthe rest is pretty simple. Just set it up in the morning and go on with your day, a perfect soup will be waiting for you when you get home.

I used my handy immersion blender for this soup, but if you don’t have one, a regular old blender or food processor will work just fine.

Ingredients: 
3 28-oz cans San Marzano tomatoes (I used one each of whole, crushed, and puree)
32 oz chicken or vegetable stock
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbsp olive oil

Seasoning: 
1 tbsp kosher salt
1.5 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tbsp fresh basil (or 3 Dorot basil cubes)
2 tsp Cocky Cajun seasoning
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

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To the crock of a slow cooker, add all ingredients and seasoning/herbs/spices. Set crock pot on low for 6-8 hours.

If you’re using an immersion blender and are available to do so, blend the soup directly in the crock pot after about 4 hours and continue cooking on low.

If using a regular blender or food processor, cook  for 6-7 hours first, then blend in batches and add back to crock pot. Continue cooking on low for at least one more hour – this helps make sure all components are evenly incorporated.

Tinga-ish Chicken Tacos

It’s gross and rainy today, and all I want is a nice big bowl of tortilla soup. Clearly that’s not going to happen before cheat day, so I had to get creative.

Chicken Tinga is a Mexican dish of shredded chicken with a tomato/chipotle sauce, smoky and delicious that’ll warm you from the inside. Sounds perfect for a day like today, so I pulled out the crock pot, rummaged through the pantry, and came up with this tasty concoction.

Ingredients: 
3 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 pieces)
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, halved and thinly sliced
1 cayenne pepper, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 28 oz can San Marzano diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 head butterhead lettuce
desired taco topping e.g. Sexy Mayo, salsa, etc.

Seasoning: 
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp dried cilantro
1 tsp freshly cracked pepper
2 tsp Cocky Cajun Seasoning
2 tsp salt

chicken tinga (1)

In the crock of your slow cooker, combine the chopped onion, garlic, chipotle pepper, tomatoes, and fresh peppers (if you can’t find fresh cayenne, another jalapeño will do). Season veggies with the red pepper flakes, chipotle, cilantro, salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning – I found that by adding the seasoning and spices before the chicken and stock, the seasoning . Add 2 cups of chicken stock to the crock.

Cut chicken breasts into quarters, removing any large chunks of fat, and add to the crock as well. Cook on high for 3.5-4 hours (or on low for 6-8 hours). Using two forks, shred the chicken in the crock pot. Remove desired with slotted spoon or tongs to another bowl, spooning a few tablespoons of liquid over the shredded chicken. Serve immediately with lettuce leaves as taco shells.

chicken tinga (2)